The death of small businesses…

The final nail in the coffin for organic reach…

If you can’t pay, this is the end of the road on Facebook for your business.

This has been the message flying around Facebook and causing trepidation and even panic amongst Facebook Page Admins. Particularly if you use Facebook to market your business, headlines such as “Facebook news feed change is death to small businesses” is bound to cause alarm.

Where have the headlines come from?

Facebook has been testing a new, secondary feed called Explore for some time now. This is meant to be another place that users can go to find more content they are interested in, beyond posts from friends and Pages they like. Basically, Facebook looks at what you’re already engaging with and seeks to show you more content that it thinks you will be interested in. The whole point is to increase the time that we spend on Facebook.

I first had access to the Explore feed on the mobile app back in April as part of the testing, so it’s been in the works for quite some time now. Techcrunch reported that Facebook has officially confirmed to them that the Explore feed is now being rolled out, although there hasn’t been an official public announcement from Facebook as yet, aside from the Techcrunch report.

On a desktop, Explore is on the left-hand side menu:

Screenshot of explore feed on desktop

 

 

 

 

On the mobile app, you’ll find Explore by tapping on the 3 horizontal lines in the bottom right-hand corner and scrolling down the options:

Screenshot of explore feed on mobile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I first gained access to the Explore feed it was in the main bottom bar on the app – prime position – so it seems that Explore might not actually be taking on a prominent role as we thought it might.

Why has this caused such a panic?

There have been reports that all posts from Facebook Pages will be moved into the Explore feed and we will only see posts from friends in the main Newsfeed. If this were true it would be a major concern since the Explore feed is pretty hidden right now and the average user will probably not seek it out.

Over the past few weeks, we have been seeing a drop in organic reach on many Pages, particularly those with over 10,000 likes, and this could explain the decline, at least in part.

In light of this, some people are claiming that the only way Pages will get their posts seen in future will be by advertising on Facebook, which will impact significantly on businesses that don’t have a large advertising budget.

What are the facts?

Other than the Techcrunch report, there has not been an official announcement from Facebook yet so a lot of what is being reported is conjecture.

There is no evidence that all Page posts will be moved across to the Explore feed and no longer shown at all in the main Newsfeed. We are keeping a close eye on this and so far we are not seeing this play out in the Newsfeed – it seems that posts from Pages are still getting served up in the Newsfeed right now.

UPDATE 25/10/2017: Facebook has released an official statement which responds to people’s concerns that all Page posts are being removed from the main Newsfeed.  They have confirmed that this is only being tested in six countries (Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia) and they currently have no plans to roll out beyond these test countries.  In the UK, the Explore feed predominantly shows posts from Pages and people that you do not already follow and therefore offers a way to find content you may no otherwise see in the Newsfeed.

What action do you need to take

Right now, none.

The important thing is to avoid any knee-jerk reactions. It’s far too soon to know what the actual impact will be on Facebook Pages and if or how we will need to adapt.

It’s more important than ever to continue to focus on your social media strategy, nurture engagement on your Page and invest time into your other social media platforms, website and email list. Regardless of how this plays out, it’s wise not to place all of your eggs in one basket – in this case, Facebook.

Here at Infinity HQ, we’re paying close attention to how this develops and I will be sharing our findings and recommendations with you as we learn more. The last thing I would want is for you to panic or fear that your business is going to be damaged overnight by a sudden loss of visibility on Facebook because the truth is that no-one knows if that is actually going to happen.

If you are concerned or you have any questions about what’s happening on Facebook then please feel free to drop me an email at hello@infinity-digital.co.uk

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